Take a look inside the $8,000 per night W Hotel in Melbourne, the newest addition from the iconic US luxury hotel group

Take a look inside the $8,000 per night W Hotel in Melbourne, the newest addition from the iconic US luxury hotel group
W Sign, Main Entrance
  • The Ace and W hotel groups have both launched outposts in Australia in recent months in Sydney and Melbourne.
  • Standout features include a 14th floor pool with floor to ceiling windows and a DJ booth.
  • Here’s a look inside the new Australian locations.
  • Visit Business Insider Australia’s homepage for more stories.

In recent months, two of the US’s coolest luxury hotel chains have set their sights on Australia’s two biggest cities — the W Hotel in Melbourne and Ace Hotel in Sydney. 

While both were waylaid by recent lockdowns — the W enjoyed a mere 12 weeks of revelry before its lights were dimmed for a second time by the June stay-at-home orders — they are now opening their doors. 

The Ace Hotel, based in Sydney’s Surry Hills, is opening its doors in early 2022, and the W Hotel, tucked in Flinders Lane in Melbourne, is again open for business.

In keeping with both hotel chain’s reputations for enlisting architects, interior designers and artists to inject the personality of the city and neighbourhood into the brand’s individual spaces, both international hotel chains have modelled their image on the quirks that define each city.


Housed behind the Paramount Building in a former brick factory, the 264-room hotel marks Ace Hotel’s first foray in the Southern Hemisphere.

2 iconic US luxury hotel groups have opened Australian outposts

Brad Wilson, president of Ace Hotel Group, told Business Insider Australia the group had long-held aspirations to bring the brand to Australia.

“Sydney felt like an easy fit for Ace in many ways — the city has a wholly singular character, but Australia’s pioneering optimism and renegade vitality feels like a sibling spirit with Ace’s roots on the West Coast of America,” Wilson said.

“When we discovered the site in Surry Hills, it felt like the ideal opportunity to bring the brand to the city.”


The Sydney outpost of the US luxury hotel was designed in collaboration with Melbourne-based Flack Studio, which shares a multidisciplinary approach to design that seeks to create spaces that honour the architectural and social history of a site. 

2 iconic US luxury hotel groups have opened Australian outposts

“We were lucky to find a true partner in Flack Studio who matched our vision for the hotel from the start,” Wilson said. 

“In Flack Studio’s use of local organic materials, textures and warm tones throughout the hotel, the distinctive brand of Australian modernism that is so loved by the Ace team has been captured,” he said.

“David and his team have been dream collaborators, who have helped us identify thoughtful ways to bring the history and community of Surry Hills and Australia into the hotel.”


The Surry Hills space includes a rooftop restaurant and bar with views across the city, plus another restaurant and cafe on the ground floor that will also be accessible to the public. 

2 iconic US luxury hotel groups have opened Australian outposts

Integrating the hotels into the community of each neighbourhood has been part of the Ace Hotel’s DNA since the opening of the first hotel in Seattle in 1999, Wilson said. 

“Since the very first Ace Hotel, it has been our goal to create public spaces that invite local communities, as well as the traveler, to gather,” he said. 

“The ground floor at Ace Sydney promises to be a model of this — with a bar, living room space, laneway café and access to all of the other amenities in the hotel.”


Ace Hotel Sydney was developed in partnership with Golden Age Group, the company behind Paramount House and Golden Age Cinema and Bar.

2 iconic US luxury hotel groups have opened Australian outposts

Known for collaborations with Sydney artists, performers, restaurants and food brands, it’s unsurprising the hotel has an ambitious agenda of events lined up for the new year. 

“We are in the midst of one of our favourite times in the opening of a hotel — aligning with partners from across the city on programming that will highlight some of the most inspired culture in Australia,” Wilson said.


Newly opened W in Melbourne offers 830 square metres of event space, along with an $8,000-a-night presidential suite equipped to host dinner parties, and an indoor pool with a DJ booth, bar and balcony.

2 iconic US luxury hotel groups have opened Australian outposts

Damon Page, general manager of W Hotel in Melbourne, told Business Insider Australia the brand had long-held plans to expand its footprint in Australia, which already includes a hotel in Brisbane.

Like the brand’s first hotel, which opened in New York in 1998, Melbourne’s distinctive neighbourhoods, centred around art and design, made the city an obvious next port of call.

“It was always about Melbourne as a destination, with so many similar traits to New York,” Page said.

“As a brand were recognised as being a little rebellious in the sense that we don’t follow the norms of traditional luxury,” he said of the chain’s philosophy.

“It’s always been around the the taking off the white gloves, so to speak.”


The indoor pool on the 14th floor can host events, with a DJ booth built-in.

2 iconic US luxury hotel groups have opened Australian outposts

The defining feature of the US luxury hotel chain’s Melbourne outpost is a pool room located on the 14th floor, which was designed to emulate the city’s defining waterway, the Yarra River.

“Its flows and ebbs are inspired by the way the river winds through the city,” Page said, with a curved gold ceiling that reflects the ripples back at swimmers.

Page said the spectacular space “takes on a very different feeling at nighttime than it does during the day”.

“The daylight generally picks up the light bouncing off that mirrored ceiling. Whereas at night, it’s the lights out of the pool that get picked up along with the lights from the adjacent buildings.”


Enlisting Australian architecture and interior design firm Hachem, the hotel’s design brief was to integrate the city’s art and architecture.

2 iconic US luxury hotel groups have opened Australian outposts

The “design narrative” of the W Melbourne was built around the concept of “peeling back the layers,” Page said; a nod to the city’s famous alleys and bolthole bars.

Walking into the ground floor entrance, this means encountering an immersive mural by Melbourne artist Rus Kitchin. In the bar, it’s a cocoon-inspired space formed by interspersed timber beams overhead.

“There’s lots of really important Melbourne involvement in the design,” he said.

2 iconic US luxury hotel groups have opened Australian outposts

Page said another essential element was the hotel’s ‘Insider’, a dedicated person at each of the hotel’s locations devoted to helping guests discover the best-kept secrets of the city, whether that’s a pop-up bar or invite-only event.

Having access to “that person that’s the heartbeat of the city, someone who really knows what’s what’s going on,” is another tiny but defining decision he says sets the hotel apart.


The suite designs were inspired by the city’s street-level newspaper kiosks that date back to the 1960s.

2 iconic US luxury hotel groups have opened Australian outposts

Featuring floor-to-ceiling windows with stunning skyline views, and the graphic colour palette a nod to Melbourne’s roots as a fashion hub, with Flinders Lane at the centre of its textile trade.


2 iconic US luxury hotel groups have opened Australian outposts

‘When you walk around the hotel, you’re picking up things that are so quintessentially Melbourne.’

2 iconic US luxury hotel groups have opened Australian outposts

The location on Flinders Lane was a deliberate choice for the US luxury hotel chain, which chose the tagline ‘rebel between the streets’ for its newest hotel.

“We are a very, very inclusive brand and where individuality is recognised and also celebrated,” Page said.

“That’s very much the important things of bringing the W brand to life in Melbourne.”